Powerball victor asks court to let her stay anonymous

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Lawyers for a New Hampshire woman suing for the right to collect a $560 million Powerball jackpot anonymously have been inundated with harebrained messages from strangers offering to help their client in exchange for a cut of her winnings, court records show.

The woman's lawyer has filed a case requesting to keep her anonymous. New Hampshire's state lottery officials plan to proceed according to state law, which, by the way, says the lottery winner's name, city or town, and prize amount are public information. She could have remained anonymous had she established a trust, then had a trustee sign the ticket, the lawyers said.

The Powerball victor has not cashed in her ticket while the legal battle to maintain her anonymity rages.

Gordon included biographical information on several people who contacted his firm, the high-powered Shaheen & Gordon group that counts William Shaheen, a former United States attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, among its partners. Judge Charles Temple heard arguments Tuesday from lawyers for the woman and the state, and he didn't indicate when he would rule.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has requested for the lawsuit to be dismissed citing the state's Right to Know Law.

A woman who says she's now a millionaire will fight to keep her anonymity Tuesday in a court in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is among a handful of states where anonymity can be protected with a bit of legal wrangling.

He said there has already been a lot of interest in learning who the victor is.

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Her lawyers indicated a trust has been set up.

When Jane Doe realized she had the winning ticket, she followed the instructions on the ticket and on the lottery commission's website to "sign the ticket". Her name is on the back of it.

Conforti said the ticket is a public document, and the commission believes that it is best to be transparent with the lottery process so that the public can see that winners are not connected to the lottery or the state, or that winners are not in clusters or related. Nowhere, they said, does the website advise the victor "that there is an option for a trust to claim a prize".

The commission rejected that idea, saying removing her name would alter the ticket, which is against the lottery rules, and thus render it void.

The fact that New Hampshire already allows trusts to sign the tickets, effectively allowing a victor to remain anonymous, undermines the state's argument that a winner's identity must be publicly disclosed to protect the integrity of the process, Gordon said. The name of the trust would be publicly available, but the person it is linked to-in this case, Jane Doe-would remain anonymous.

The still-unnamed woman requested anonymity following her January 6 drawing win, but on Monday the New Hampshire Attorney General's office filed a legal response arguing that disclosing her identity is a public service, New Hampshire Public Radio reports.

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